10 Replies Latest reply on Jan 14, 2014 3:58 AM by m2d3x4

    Converting FreeHand files with Illustrator CS5


      I have not upgraded to OS Lion because it does not work with FreeHand MX. Reluctantly I finally got Illustrator CS5, planning on converting all my many many FH files to AI, which I have yet to learn to use. Now I want to get Lion. Could anyone tell me if I can open FH files with AI after I've installed Lion? Or would I have to convert them while still in Snow Leopard?

      Thanks for any advise.

        • 1. Re: Converting FreeHand files with Illustrator CS5
          maeric Level 3

          I think the reason no one has replied to your post is because you are one of the first to use Lion with yor FreeHand files. Brave soul. But the only way of knowing if this works is to try it and see what happens. Post your question here as well since some may have tried this very thing or have suggestions if it fails. Good luck.

          • 2. Re: Converting FreeHand files with Illustrator CS5
            catbutler Level 1

            Thanks for taking the time to write. I actually have not installed Lion, but in preparation, I've converted over a hundred FreeHand MX files to Ai, with many more to go. This is assuming converted CS5 files have no problem with Lion. I'm still working in FH, and at the end of the day save in Ai. I just have trouble finding my way around Ai.

            Thanks for the link.

            • 3. Re: Converting FreeHand files with Illustrator CS5

              Iluustrator CS5 can open FreeHand Files just fine.


              I'm forcing myself to make the switch also ( still runnng Snow Leopard though). If you use Illustrator for a couple of projects you will start feeling comfortable with it.


              One thing that stopped me from making the switch was the mutipage document support in Illustrator . They kind of implemented it a couple of vesions back with the "Artboards" and now at cs5 it's much more polished, It's almost as easy as FreeHand. Adding, duplicating and deleting Artboards.


              Transparency is also nice to have and other things that now FreeHand will never have.


              Good luck with the switch

              • 4. Re: Converting FreeHand files with Illustrator CS5

                I am not a designer.... I am in pre-press, so Freehand does exactly what I need it to do... I dont need all the bells and whistles that comes with Illustrator.....

                Freehand allows me step the files and to make files press ready with ease.....  


                I see lawsuits coming....  They have just made a program non functional that has been bought and paid for....  Are all Freehand users going to be re-imbursed..?

                • 5. Re: Converting FreeHand files with Illustrator CS5

                  This is more of a jump into the deep end rather than  a reply but....


                      Well, the time has come- I need to find some conversion for all my FH 11.0.2 files or at least a way to save them (23 yrs wk)-using SL for now- app is my best bet even if I have to move up version by version- eg. buy Illustrator 5 --make the changes then move on to OS 10.7 and AI 6?????????


                  Or- should I just save each one as eps?  Been reading all the input--not exactly computer "literate" but I can get the gist-- thanks to all limping along in FH as long as possible!


                     Oh yes- by the way- anyone familiar with Intaglio (Mac version)--I am hunting for a simple drawing (etc.) app that will tide me over until I get my drawing software feet again.


                     Once more- thanks

                  • 6. Re: Converting FreeHand files with Illustrator CS5
                    maeric Level 3

                    kittydoc, there is an ongoing discussion on this very topic at the Illustrator forums: http://forums.adobe.com/message/4589217

                    DocPixel-BMW's advice is particularly good but even if you do convert to AI or EPS, keep your original FreeHand files backed up. I've seen steps toward a new drawing application that has promise for your files in the years to come. Take a look here, http://www.stagestack.com/


                    Bottom line, Adobe removing the FreeHand conversion plugin in CS6 seems a highly questionable move in light of recent events with the Free FreeHand movement. After all this, Illustrator (and its team) are meant to have an open doorway for us into Ai ... not shut the door. The staff needs to reinstate FreeHand-conversion in CS6 or they should give us a good reason why not.


                    Doing "nothing" looks bad.

                    • 7. Re: Converting FreeHand files with Illustrator CS5
                      kittyDoc Level 1

                      Thanks a thousand times over.  I have bookmarked the site and will keep an eye out.  For now (can't afford an emergency that necessitatees a new mac and no way to open FH files) i am looking at  Intaglio as at least a short term fix since it seems to have some of the familiar workings of FH.  I have listened and wathced all the problems over the past few years and it has taken me this long to realize I realy need an escape pln if I have to. Intaglio says they cannot opmne native FH files, but can import SVG (not from FH you won't) or pdf ( they gave a list in descending order of usefulness).  So, while this is not the answer I wanted- I already knew nothing was out there... and this might buy me the time for partial accessibility-- at least if i go through and export all the FH files as PDFs, I'll have both original and....  Then in Intaglio I can open the files and at least  (I hope) alter the graphics if not the text.


                           I will keep watching.    Again- thanks for the information-- a glimmer of hope!

                      • 8. Re: Converting FreeHand files with Illustrator CS5
                        m2d3x4 Level 1

                        Do not convert all files. If you understand the future of computing, you will notice that being up to date with the latest versions is no longer important. In 20 years it will still be quite easy to open your Freehand files.

                        Best thing is to make a good virtual image of a setup that works. For example a Virtual box image with Snow Leopard and Freehand. Keep that with your files. Also backup your Freehand program. As Virtualisation makes steady progress, you will see possibilities to put Freehand (the original) in the Dock os OSX 10.9 Snow Globe Kitten and beyond and run it as if it was a native app. In the back it runs a complete emulated Snow Leopard environment to make it work, but the overhead is peanuts with today's processing power. It will feel faster than Illustrator CS6 too. You can even cross platform it: run your Windows FH 10 or 11 on Mac, or the other way around.


                        I really like Freehand 10 (I think it was programmed better so it runs easier on modern systems), and I still use it for 90% of vector work today between all modern other programs. Also good thing: the licenses back then were way better, and allow you infinite use!


                        One very simple thing that gets lost in converting to Illustrator: Illustrator does not know the triangle-connector in paths. It is my most beloved Freehand feature, yet it goes away if you convert files to Illustrator.


                        Same with RAW images from digital camera's. The stupidest to do is make DNG files from them.

                        • 9. Re: Converting FreeHand files with Illustrator CS5
                          kiski Level 1

                          Best thing is to make a good virtual image of a setup that works. For example a Virtual box image with Snow Leopard and Freehand. Keep that with your files. -

                          Can you please explain? I don't how to do that. I'm using OSX10.6.8 and Freehand MX. And dreading to change to Illustrator CS6!

                          • 10. Re: Converting FreeHand files with Illustrator CS5
                            m2d3x4 Level 1

                            If you want to do it the legit way: call the Apple Store (website does not work), and ask for Snow Leopard Server. Then you can run it virtualised on any new mac. On Snow Leopard itself, it will still run, so in your case Freehand still runs. If you want to move to Mountain Lion/Mavericks, get a copy of SLS now Apple still sells it!

                            It costs 18€/20$.

                            Now install Virtual Box, and make a new virtual machine. Use the Snow Leopard Server DVD to make a fresh Mac install. You will have a +/- 10GB virtual disk image, and you can install Freehand 10/MX inside that virtual 10.6.

                            Now you can move the virtual machine to any computer and run Freehand on it. It will work on any Mac from 10.6, any Windows machine from XP and any Linux machine.